Abstract: The Qualitex judgement in 1995 sent ripples across American academia, with authors denouncing the ratio rendered therein, while others heralded it as a landmark in the modern trademark law. The debate of single-colour registrability has become even more important today, with companies like Cadbury and Christian Louboutin filing for registration of singular colours for their exclusive usage. Courts of varying jurisdictions have rendered their judicial interpretation of the domestic trademark laws regarding the protection and registration of single-colours as trademarks. The Indian judiciary however, has not rendered its conclusive instruction pertaining to the registration of single-colour marks. Amidst such confusion and chaos, the Delhi High Court, which has often been lauded as the haven of Intellectual Property jurisprudence, has rendered a series of judgements over the span of 8 months (January 2017- July 2018), which involve similar subject matter and same plaintiff(s), yet the judgements are surprisingly incompatible, further evidencing a need for the assessment of issues surrounding the registrability of abstract colour marks.
The present research analyses the arguments against the registration of single-colour marks and judges its efficacy within the Indian legal structure. The cases which have been lauded as jurisprudential innovations pertaining to single colour marks have also been summarised and critiqued. The present stand of the Indian Judiciary, along with a critique of the recent controversy within the Delhi High Court, forms an important element of this research. The principles adopted by the Indian judicial system are contrasted with the ones incorporated within the American Jurisprudence, thus providing a cross-jurisdictional assessment of the present issue.

Author: Aditya Gupta is a 4th year law student of the National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi. The author may be contacted at aditya.gupta@nusrlranchi.ac.in.

The full text of the article can be found as a PDF here.

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